Dead Marine's family files $20 Million claim over SWAT raid
Filing on behalf of Jose Guerena's family also includes previously unreleased photos of Guerena's wife and child during the raid Video by kgun9.comvideo
Jose Guerena's wife Vanessa shown as SWAT tries to get her out of the house. This frame of Sheriff's Dept. video is included in the Guerena family claim letter.
Reporter: Craig Smith
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A SWAT raid in May, left a Marine veteran dead.
Now his family is telling the SWAT team and the officers bosses they need to pay.
The price: 20 million dollars.
We have new images of his wife as the SWAT raid unfolded.
Also, his family filed a letter outlining a claim and demanding damages. The SWAT team killed Guerena when he met them with an assault rifle after they broke open his door.
Now the officers and the agencies that employ them have 60 days to respond or face a full lawsuit.
The Pima Regional SWAT Team fired 71 bullets at former Marine Jose Guerena. He died after 22 hit him. Now his family's attorney says, pay 20 million or we'll see you in court.
Attorney Christopher Scileppi says, "No amount of money can replace Mr Guerena to his wife, to his children to his family."
His letter demanding payment includes pictures of one of Guerena's little boys---his wife hysterical as SWAT members tried to get her out of the house, and what Scileppi regards as needless rough treatment as they did remove her.
SWAT broke down the door to serve a search warrant in a drug investigation. Scileppi contends they were there on flimsy evidence and did not need to use so much force.
KGUN9 Reporter Craig Smith asked Scileppi: "Even if you question the circumstances that brought the SWAT team to the house how else should they have responded when faced with a man with a rifle?"
Scileppi: "It's not just when they're faced with a man with a rifle by entering in the very, very, very short amount of time that they gave, the family or Mr Guerena to answer as they approached the house, it was less than 8 seconds as you know as we all see in the video."
Scileppi says things happened so fast Guerena and his wife could only know they were faced with some sort of intruders. He says SWAT acted irresponsibly and also should not have kept paramedics out of the house until more than an hour after Guerena was shot.
The demand letter is directed at Pima County government, Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, Oro Valley, Sahuarita and Marana because they all had officers on the team, but they're not commenting.
Mike Storie is the SWAT team's private attorney he says, "I love the first part that they acted irresponsibly. This is a guy that knows nothing about police procedure and hasn't really been able to back up that claim for months. That's laughable. As far as the second part of it, denying medical assistance, that's been explained."
Storie says SWAT held back the paramedics because they were not sure Guerena was no longer a threat and that there was no one else in the house.
The Pima County Attorney's Office ruled the SWAT team did not act improperly in shooting Guerena. The family attorney suggests the County Attorney is too close to law enforcement to be unbiased.
SWAT's attorney says he's seen plenty of cases when that office prosecuted officers accused of wrongdoing.